Week 11, Friday. Memorial of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More

DAILY EXCERPT from The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith – Instrumentum Laboris:

Matthew's Gospel gives special attention to the account of Jesus' walking on the water and reaching the Apostles in the boat. After calming the Apostles' fear, he accepts the challenge of St. Peter: "Lord, if it is you, bid me come to you on the water" (Mt 14:28). At first, St. Peter walks towards Jesus on the water without any difficulty. "But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, 'Lord, save me!' Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, 'O man of little faith, why did you doubt?'" (Mt 14:30-31). Afterwards, Jesus and St. Peter together get into the boat and the wind ceases. The disciples, witnesses to this great happening, prostrate themselves before the Lord and make a full profession of faith: "Truly you are the Son of God!" (Mt 14:33).
In our times, St. Peter's experience can be reflected in many of the faithful as well as entire Christian communities, especially in traditionally Christian countries. In fact, because of a lack of faith, various particular Churches are witnessing a decline in sacramental and Christian practice among the faithful to the point that some members can even be called "non-believers" (άπιστοι; cf. Mt 17:17; 13,58). At the same time, many particular Churches, after initially displaying a great enthusiasm, are now showing signs of weariness and apprehension in the face of very complex situations in today's world. Like St. Peter, they grow fearful of opposing forces and temptations of various kinds as well as challenges that surpass their human capabilities. But, just as salvation came to St. Peter from Christ alone, so too the faithful, when they become personally involved as members of an ecclesial community, can experience Christ's saving grace. Only the Lord Jesus can extend his hand and indicate the sure path in the journey of faith. Instrumentum Laboris, paragraphs 3 and 4

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your merciful love; according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash me completely from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (Psalm 51:3-4, Morning Prayer, Liturgy of the Hours).

O God, Who in martyrdom
have brought true faith to its highest expression,
graciously grant
that, strengthened through the intercession
of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More
we may confirm by the witness of our life
the faith we profess with our lips.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.

Today’s selection from The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith – Instrumentum Laboris sets us on the turbulent sea of Galilee and the changing times of contemporary society. On the Sea of Galilee and in the boat, Peter and his companions move from a vague grasp of Who Jesus is to a confession of faith. In our day, we are experiencing many who have moved from faith to a vague indifference that threatens both the relationship with Jesus and living His way of life. This relationship and unique way of living is the Gift of Faith, a Gift that is threatened by much in society, especially sin that is manifested, among other ways, as apathy and indifference. Such apathy and indifference often becomes the seed-bed of hostility.

1. The Instrumentum Laboris speaks about a “lack of Faith” causing a decline in Sacramental and Christian practices. What connection do you see between Faith and Sacraments and other aspects of Christian living?

2. How, with the Grace of the Holy Spirit, can we re-capture Sacraments as living encounters with the Person, Jesus Christ?

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